Ep. 333: Take Control of Your Wealth with Nacondra Moran of Exceptional Tax Services

I'm so excited to introduce you to this week's guest on Pep Talks for Side Hustlers, Nacondra Moran of Exceptional Tax Services!

Nacondra is the owner behind Exceptional Tax Services where she offers Simplified Tax and Bookkeeping Services to Small Business Owners. She has saved her Clients thousands in Taxes and MILLIONS in headaches. Her Clientele includes Creatives and Online Entrepreneurs where she takes their Business from Reactive to Proactive while giving them the tools, advice, and education to grow their Business.  Her background began as an IRS employee for 4 years and she eventually branched out on her own as a Licensed Enrolled Agent after becoming a Mother. She yearned for freedom and entrepreneurship has given her just that. She is a Wife and Mom to 3 kids, 1 8-year-old daughter, and a set of 5-year-old twin boys.

Push play to listen to this week's episode, or read the full transcript below!

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Shannon Mattern: Welcome to episode 333 of Pep Talks for Side Hustlers. And I am so excited to introduce you to today's guest Nacondra Moran of Exceptional Tax Services, where she saves her clients thousands in dollars and millions in headaches, which I absolutely love that! Nacondra, thank you so much for being here. Can you share a little bit more with our listeners about you and what you do?

Nacondra Moran: Yes. Thank you so much for having me Shannon. I'm so excited to be here. I am Nacondra and I'm the owner behind Exceptional Tax Services. We offer simplified accounting services to small business owners. We have been here since 2016. Prior to that I worked at the IRS for a little over four years. And I wanted to go into entrepreneurship because I had a passion for small business owners. So our mission is really to help bridge the wealth gap for entrepreneurs and to really help simplify starting a business by helping them with one of the biggest pain points in growing a business, which is taxes and bookkeeping and accounting. So that's been our mission and we have been doing that one client at a time.

Shannon Mattern: I love that you said bridge the wealth gap for entrepreneurs. Can you tell me a little bit more about what you mean by that?

Nacondra Moran: Absolutely. I think that having a business and entrepreneurship is a very good way to build wealth, but I believe that a lot of taxpayers and people, we just don't know how to do it. It's not something that we were taught. We were taught so many different subjects in school, but we really don't understand entrepreneurship, taxes, filing taxes and things of that nature. So I do believe that us as entrepreneurs, and not just entrepreneurs, but my passion has been for small business owners. I want to create more wealth for us because I believe that that gives us the freedom to be able to create more opportunities for so many other different avenues here in this world. So that's been what our mission has been. And as a result of that, we work primarily with self-employed, freelancers, contractors and small business owners.

Shannon Mattern: I love that. And I totally agree with you. I think that having your own small business, working for yourself as a freelancer, it's been one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done. It's been the biggest personal growth. I don't know how you grew up, but I grew up like, Oh, you get a job and you just take what they pay you and you hopefully, you know, please them enough that they give you a raise once a year. And I never saw a path for building wealth. And so when I first decided to quit my day job and go out on my own, I just wanted to like replace my paycheck. There was not even like a thought in my mind that I could build wealth.

Shannon Mattern: It was like, Oh, I can just free myself from, you know, the daily grind and having a boss and all of that stuff. But now I've come to realize like, Oh, there's this whole other world out here for me that I didn't even know and I think entrepreneurship unlocks that for people. But I think one of the biggest fears that a lot of people have is managing their own money and they're afraid of the IRS coming after them. And they're afraid of setting up their business wrong and doing all that stuff wrong. So that's why I'm so glad there are people like you out there helping us to guide us on the journey.

Nacondra Moran: Yeah. I totally agree. It's been very trying for a lot of entrepreneurs to be able to start a business. And the whole idea behind me wanting to bridge the wealth gap and me wanting to educate more was because that really deterred a lot of people and that could be a deciding factor in somebody creating a business or not. Because when you first start the business, of course you have all of these different ideas. You do want the business to be successful, but you have a lot of ideas that you don't necessarily know how to implement. And I think the money, the taxes, the bookkeeping, the accounting can be a deterrent and it can steer people away from wanting to completely jump into entrepreneurship because they don't understand it fully. So it's really been a passion of mine to educate and really service these clients on this particular thing, because it gives them the confidence in order to really go out there and really pursue it with knowing that, you know, they have a clear idea of what's required of them as a business owner. And then also, you know, it gives them more confidence to be able to run the business and not be so afraid of the IRS.

Shannon Mattern: I think that, you know, when you first have this idea for starting a business, there's something that you're super passionate about. And you're like, Oh, I just want to do the thing. I want to be the graphic designer. I want to be a life coach or a health coach or a virtual assistant or whatever it is. And that's the thing that you're passionate about. And then you're like, Oh, but I have to learn how to do some tech stuff and I have to figure out social media and I have to figure out my taxes. And then you kind of start running into all of these, I wouldn't call them roadblocks, but kind of hurdles that you have to jump over to really grow the business the way that you want. And I think that's why when we first met and I understood what your mission was,

Shannon Mattern: I'm like, we are the same person with demystifying just a different thing. I wanted to demystify the tech for people so that never holds them back. You want to demystify the accounting and tax side so that doesn't hold people back. And I just think that's why I was just like I have to have her on the podcast and I have to talk to her about this. So I want to talk a little bit later about some of those standard things that business owners should know, but I want to dive a little bit into your story. First, you spent four years at the IRS and then you decided to go out on your own to help business owners. What was that decision like to leave the "security" of the job to go into entrepreneurship for yourself?

Nacondra Moran: Yeah. Well, if I'm being really honest, I just wasn't the happiest when I was working at the IRS. Even though it was a government job, which I think a lot of people in America would say that's a decent job. It's considered like a safe job because you're working for the government. So, even though I was working there, I still found myself not very happy. And then I think the turning point kind of started for me when I had children and I eventually wanted to have more freedom and flexibility, even though I kind of already wanted that in the beginning. I think I kind of sat on it for the longest time and not really jumped out like I should have in the beginning. So, in hindsight, now that I look back at it, I feel like I should have jumped out way sooner than I did.

Nacondra Moran: But I did work with work with them for over four years. And then after that, after just wanting more freedom, more time, more flexibility, I decided that I was going to leave. So after I left the IRS, I just kind of started my business. And I realized quickly that I had a passion for people who were working online, digital entrepreneurs, people who were freelancing, small business owners who are really trying to start. And that is kind of how I kind of gotten into a niche that I really wanted to work with. And then after that, it kind of just took off and that's how I've been growing since.

Shannon Mattern: I can so relate to that. And I had a job that people would also consider like safe. You know, it's not going anywhere. That type of thing where you don't have to worry about your company going under or something. I worked for a nonprofit that had been in business for a hundred years. And there was like this feeling of like, I'm so ungrateful for not liking this when other people would just would love to have this job. And I felt really guilty. And I think that's why I stayed for a long time and didn't take the leap because other people that I knew would look at me and be like, why? What is wrong with you? Why aren't you happy? You have all of this and other people would be so grateful to have what you have. And I'm just like, I made for more. I can have a bigger impact than what I can here, but it took me a long time to make the move because I felt guilty. And I know a lot of people listening to this podcast kind of feel that same way. Like, Oh, I shouldn't be grateful for what I have. Did that ever come into play for you?

Nacondra Moran: Absolutely. And not only that, you're also kind of going against the norm depending on how you were brought up. So in my particular scenario, I was brought up by people who all worked. Nobody was entrepreneurs, nobody was a business owner. So the idea of me managing my own business, AKA managing my own money and managing my survival really, that was just not something that a lot of my family members were doing. So I wasn't taught that. So the whole idea of leaving the IRS was not just me leaving a safe job. I was also leaving the societal perception that I had that in order for me to make a life for myself, I had to be working for someone.

Shannon Mattern: Yes. Oh my gosh, same. And I know a lot of people listening to this and I feel like you're probably like a trailblazer now for your friends and family. Right. They probably look at you and they're like, wait, how can I do what you do?

Nacondra Moran: Yeah. And then you also inspire them because once you do it and they see that you've really been able to create something, it then becomes very inspiring. And then they can take that same energy and they see, well, maybe this is something that I can do for myself and I could be more happy or have more freedom or flexibility in my life as well by doing that.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I think my family, everybody was super supportive, but they were like terrified for me. Right? You know what I mean? They're like, Oh, when it all falls apart, we'll be here for you. So you decided to go out on your own. I'm so glad that you decided to focus on digital and online entrepreneurs. Because when I first started, I started my business as a web designer, I had no idea that there was this whole world of online entrepreneurship out there. That there were coaches for online entrepreneurs and accountants for online entrepreneurs. And I remember asking a friend of a friend, hey, I think I need someone to help me with my books. And like this old guy was just like "you do what little girl?". And I was like, okay, yeah, I'll figure it out on my own. I'm not going to work with you. What you do is so needed, especially in this space and in the online space, and the small business space. So can you tell me, how did you get your first client?

Nacondra Moran: Hmm. It's so funny you said that about the accountant, because I hear that so much. And really what we're doing in the online space is still so new to some other industries, especially my industry as accountants. I mean, there are a lot of us now that work online, but it's still an emerging industry. And a lot of accountants, especially older school accountants, you know, they're brick and mortar. They have a physical office, so they don't necessarily really understand what it's like, Oh, you're a business coach. You're web designer, things like that. I hear that all the time about them not necessarily understanding our industries as online entrepreneurs. But to answer your question about how did I get my first client? Well, I was, and I still am obsessed with personal development.

Nacondra Moran: I love to watch Ted talks. I love to watch just all kinds of things on YouTube. I love being inspired. I love the energy of it. And that's what I was doing. One day, I was looking at a Ted talk of Carrie Green and I joined her group, the Female Entrepreneur Association. And this was years ago. But when I joined her group, I started to just see everyone, like the people like you, Shannon, and your types of clients and people who were web designers or business coaches. And I started to just put myself out there and network and meet people. And over time, you know, I started to get clients that way. So it was literally by me just kind of connecting with other entrepreneurs. And that's how my business got started.

Shannon Mattern: I love that. I think the Female Entrepreneur Association was one of the first things that found and I was like, wait, there's other people like me that want to do this?

Nacondra Moran: Yay. Really how I felt. I literally had no idea there was like this wealth of information out there, especially in social media, I had no idea. And that's exactly how I felt.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Especially for women. Cause, you know, what I would read, I would like see things and it was all guys talking about, you know, raising capital and whatever it is for their latest app. And I'm just like, I really don't feel there's anybody else out there like me. And then I found that. So that's so awesome. And I think one of the things that you said too, is you put yourself out there and you talked to other people. I think that that is a step that a lot of people want to skip nowadays. They're like, Oh wait, I want to start a blog. I want to start Instagram. I want to start Pinterest. And so not that those things don't work, but man, they are the long way to go aside from just like actually just talking to real people and saying, Hey, I do accounting and taxes for small digital entrepreneurs. And everyone's probably like, Oh my God, can you please help me?

Nacondra Moran: Yeah, I totally agree. And it may be something that's not easy for you at first to put yourself out there. But it's definitely a practice that you can learn to get good at. And I encourage anyone to try it. So for me I've always kind of been like introverted in a sense. So it was hard for me. So I would say if I did it, anyone else can do it because I really don't appear to be as introverted when you meet me. But I am kind of like, the whole online space, the Facebook lives and things like that, that was very intimidating to me. So I would say with practice you can learn to get over that.

Shannon Mattern: I agree. And I think it's like kind of how you approach it. And I remember I hated going to conferences. If I went to a conference, I was like invisible girl sitting in the back. If there was a networking thing, if I had to go to it, I'd be on my phone. I just didn't know how to talk to people. And I remember, and this was four or five years ago and now I have like a podcast and I do webinars and funny how things change. But I remember one of my business coaches at the time being like for as awkward as you feel, there's someone else who feels just as awkward or more awkward. So go up and talk to that person and like take care of them, you know, go find that person, take care of them, ask them where they're from, ask them questions.

Shannon Mattern: Like it's so much easier if you're coming at it from a place of how can I help others, especially when you're introverted, than how can I network and sell myself? Cause I'm like, ugh, that is not anything that I ever want to think like, Ooh, how can I network? How can I sell myself? But when I could reframe it as like, Oh, how can I help that person who looks super awkward and uncomfortable. Make them feel more comfortable, maybe make a friend and ask someone questions and just get to know people without any agenda. Then it all became so much easier.

Nacondra Moran: No, I totally agree. And even for me, like just listening to you, I feel like your industry will have certain challenges for me. I always felt like, who's going to want me to see their personal financial information? How am I going to sell this? Here I am, a stranger, right? And so I had a lot of mind trash behind that. And it really actually caused me to delay the start of my business for a very long time because I had a lot of fear-based thoughts about the inability to grow my business. But it was all wrong. It was mind trash for sure because, over time, I saw that within the proof of me gaining clients that I could grow a business 100% online that dealt with bookkeeping and taxes and that I could be able to provide that versus the negative thoughts that I had about it. So I totally understand.

Shannon Mattern: I'm so glad that you brought up mind trash. I love it. I've never heard of it, like that word before, but that's exactly what it is. I call it just mindset or negative mindset, but mind trash is perfect. I love that. I had so much mind trash in growing my business. I mean, I still do. It's like, whack-a-mole. You come up with new mind trash all the time that you have to just get better at recognizing and then telling yourself, well, that's not true. That's just stuff I think that's useless and not helpful. But I see honestly, that is one of the biggest things that holds people in my community back from going forward is that they think they don't know enough. They think they're not good enough.

Shannon Mattern: I think thinking that you have to sell yourself is one of the biggest thoughts that people have that hold them back because you know, Oh, I have to sell myself and in order to sell myself, I have to be X, Y, Z, in order to earn the right to tell someone how I can help them, you know? And I think that's some the biggest stuff I had to overcome to just be like, I can help people, I have this skill that people need, I can help people. And you are in a particular industry that people get a whole lot of relief from having you help them, like mentally. And if they don't have to worry about that piece of their business anymore, they probably just take massive action. Have you seen that with your clients?

Nacondra Moran: Absolutely. What I've seen with so many clients is that piece can be so crippling to so many entrepreneurs that just having a second set of eyes from someone that they feel is trustworthy, or someone as an accountant like myself, having that I believe really does help give them the confidence that they don't have to focus on that. And they can put their focus into growing the business because they have me and they know that I'm here to monitor their finances, to tell them what they don't know, because I think the biggest thing that I've realized is that my clients are afraid that they don't know what they don't know. And because of that, they're unsure because it's such an uncharted territory for them. So my whole philosophy I think is just to give them that second set of eyes and the backing to give them the confidence that they can go out there and they can grow their business.

Nacondra Moran: And they don't have to worry about the compliances that come with tax time, making sure that they're proactive and not reactive so that they know they can take proactive steps and they're not reacting to what's happening. Because you also have entrepreneurs who have put themselves out there and they may have felt like they got burned from owing a balance or being in some type of first time filing situation and not really knowing what they were getting themselves into. So all of that can become ways to just deter someone from really growing. And that is a mindset thing. So I think I add to that piece by giving them the confidence to be able to really go out there and grow the business so that they're successful.

Shannon Mattern: I have talked to friends or people in my community that didn't even realize that not having a solid strategy for their taxes and bookkeeping was the thing that was preventing them from actually really going for it in their business and making offers. And I was talking to a member of a mastermind that I'm in, and she was just like, I'm afraid to pay myself because I worked with somebody who set up my business as an S corporation. And we don't have to get into the nitty gritty of all of this stuff right now. But she's like, they set up my business in a way that I don't understand. And I'm afraid to move money out of my business account and use it because I don't know what I'm doing. And she didn't even realize that whole thing that she had just decided to not deal with and push under the rug was then also preventing her from doing the big things that she needed to do to market and grow the business and all of that stuff, because she was just like, I don't know how this works.

Shannon Mattern: I'm going to ignore it over here. But really it was driving that lack of confidence in that piece that was like subconsciously holding her back from doing all of the other things. So when we were talking, she was like, I did not even realize that this thing over here was preventing me from taking action over here. And it was just a really big eye-opening experience for her to be like, Oh, if I just had someone that I trusted helping me that didn't talk down to me, make me feel stupid, belittle me for not knowing this stuff, which I think is also like a big thing. She was afraid to ask for help because I think it was like her parents' accountant or something and whatever. And she didn't want them to know that she was struggling. So it was like this whole thing that was like holding her back and, you know, she just decided to ignore it. And you don't even realize how much not addressing these things can really can really hold you back in your business.

Nacondra Moran: Yeah, absolutely. And I see that all the time. I mean, I've really talked to a lot of different clients that have situations like that. And that can literally be the driving force as to why they haven't reached the goals that they have for themselves in their business. Or you may meet some that may have had a previous bad experience, and because of that, that's kind of the driving factor behind them not putting themselves all the way out there. I've seen all of those different types of scenarios and I feel for them because I think they have this opinion that they should know this stuff, but a lot of people don't know this stuff. And it's okay not to know. You likely won't know the whole entrepreneurship in taxes. It's not something that we were taught, so you likely may not know anything about it and that's okay.

Nacondra Moran: That's okay. But I think for them to think that they're supposed to know kind of makes them shameful to ask or that they need to reach out and ask questions. And for me, I always tell my clients, there is no such thing as a dumb question because they're the business owner and they're growing this business and they need to know this stuff. So I want them to always feel like, no matter what, whatever the question is, they can come and they can ask me because they started this business likely because they want to be successful. I want to give them the proper foundations so that they can grow it because that's the intention that I have for them. So, I just think that, there's no such thing as a dumb question and you should not feel shame. And business owners don't know this stuff. We're learning now and likely if you are self-employed, you're learning it now. And it's okay if you don't know everything. You may not at first.

Shannon Mattern: I love that. I do. I think it is. It's like, do not feel ashamed if you don't know this stuff, you're not supposed to know it. You're not. This is something that you learn as you go. So can we talk about some of those basic things that when someone's meeting you for the first time and they know nothing about anything when it comes to taxes and book keeping. What are some of those first things, those really basic foundational things that you educate people about?

Nacondra Moran: Yeah, sure. So depending on where they are, so I will say in this particular instance, we may be talking about someone who just started a business or they are very new. So if someone contacted me, I would usually have a call with them where I'll hear more about their business. And I usually just kind of ask what they've been doing so far. So what is their business looking like as far as how they set it up? Are they operating as a sole proprietor? Did they file to become a LLC? I ask them about what state they're located in as different things could also vary. I also ask how their bookkeeping has been, as far as how are they currently keeping track of their income and their expenses. And usually those are some of the first things that I ask.

Nacondra Moran: And then usually the bookkeeping ties in to tax time. So by the time I talk about where their bookkeeping is, if they have existing software, if they're just tracking it on a spreadsheet or how they're accounting for everything, then I tie that into how to organize themselves for tax time. And depending on where they are in their business, it can go on and on. If they are already in business, we may estimated tax payments. We may discuss business deductions and what that means for a business owner. Because a lot of people who are self-employed are sometimes confused about what they can actually deduct. So just giving them clarity on that, so that they have a clear answer as far as the business expenses that they're paying for, deducting them, how to categorize them and so forth. So I say those are like some of the beginning questions that I usually discuss. And then of course I answer any questions that they may have as well.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I think those are kind of the things that I hear people....So I coach web designers specifically, and they're like, do I need to have a LLC? Do I need to do this? They don't know those answers and so it's good to have somebody that you can just talk to to say, well, here's my situation. Here's the state that I live in. What does this mean? What does it mean to be a sole proprietor? What does it mean to be LLC? Why would I choose one over the other? And so that's a common question. Could you go into that one really quick?

Nacondra Moran: Right. Absolutely. So most entrepreneurs, when they first start their business, they are a sole proprietor. A sole proprietor is the status that every entrepreneur will have when they first decide that they're in business. So it's the default status, I would call it. So after becoming a sole proprietor, you have options. You can elect to stay as a sole proprietor, or you can choose to be a LLC. And if you choose that option, I think a lot of clients, or a lot of people think that once you become an LLC, you're now an LLC and an LLC only. But really you're still a sole proprietor as well. You're both. So a LLC is really just a legal term and it is there to give you limited liability, as it's called. It protects and gives you a separation from your business and personal assets.

Nacondra Moran: So it kind of creates like an umbrella between your business and your personal, so that if you were ever to be sued or to be in any type of litigation, it would protect your business from your personal. Which kind of piggybacks on bookkeeping and why it's so important for you to keep everything separate because the whole idea of becoming an LLC and things like that is so that you have that separation between your business and your personal. But you also need to make sure in the midst of that, you keep your business separate from your personal, because that kind of defeats the purpose if you are an LLC, because it would be hard to substantiate business expenses that you are purchasing with personal funds. So the biggest differences is that a sole proprietor, is a default status. It's an unincorporated business. There's no legal protection. You are your business. If you were ever to be sued, there is no separation. They could come after your personal assets. If you are an LLC, that is a legal status, which means that there's now a umbrella of protection between you and your business. But for tax purposes, you are still a sole proprietor. So you are both, with that extra legal protection. I hope that makes sense.

Shannon Mattern: That totally makes sense to me. So I just want to put it in terms of when I first started my business back in 2014, I didn't actually start a business officially. Right. Someone asked me, Oh, you're a web designer. Can you help us with this website? And I was like, yes, I can. And I accepted money for that. And so at that point, I was a sole proprietor. I did literally nothing to become a sole proprietor than to accept money for a web design project. I did know enough at the time on my own, because of my role at my day job, that I needed to keep that money separate from my personal money. So I don't know if I did this right or not, but this is what I did.

Shannon Mattern: I had like an old checking account from before I got married. So like when I got married, we put all of our assets together. Like a year or two after I got married, we finally got around to putting all of our assets together in one checking account. But I had like my old personal checking account from college. And I was like, Oh, I don't use this. I haven't used it forever. I'll use this as my business account. So I didn't like go set up a brand new business checking account. Maybe I should have, but I put all of the money from the business in that account. And that's what I spent out of. And I just kept it all separate. So I did that for six months, and then I started getting more and more clients. And then I realized, Oh, wait, just like what you said, if any of these clients were to sue me, they could also, like, my house counts in that, and our checking account counts as part of my assets.

Shannon Mattern: And once that light bulb came on for me, I was like, Oh, okay. Now it makes sense to become an LLC. So they can only get the $2,000 that's in my business checking account. So I then did the paperwork through the state of Ohio to form the LLC. And at that point I did get business checking accounts, and with that kind of moved everything over. So it was a progression for me. It was not like I am not working with any clients until I have all of these things set up. I was just like, I'll take this money and I'll keep it separate. And that's what I did. So I don't know if that is right or whatever, but it worked out and there was now a progression. Like I didn't let it hold me back necessarily, but I did get to the point where I'm like, I'm in over my head and I actually need a bookkeeper, or not a bookkeeper, I did my own books. I need like a CPA. Like I need someone to work with. And that led me to eventually finding you. So that was kind of my story as my entrepreneurial progression through the journey of bookkeeping and taxes.

Nacondra Moran: I think every business owner does that in the very beginning because you really don't exactly know. You have not grown the business yet. And because you are funding the business with your personal expenses, it's going to be commingled in the beginning because naturally the way you're starting the business, it just happens like that. So, I think, also, depending on what bank you bank with, it could also take a while for you to set up a business account. So you having that separate the way you did was still very smart. And I would advise anyone that if you haven't set up a business bank account yet, and if you're having trouble doing that, or if it takes awhile, then you can also choose that option and work up into that because that's still keeping your business income and expenses separate than your personal, which I think is just something that's very important to do. So, yeah. Perfect. I mean, when you first start, it'll take awhile for you to kind of get into the hang of things and start to understand, okay, I need to keep up with this. I need to keep track of this. I need to keep this in mind. And those things are just a learning curve in becoming an entrepreneur.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And I think the earlier you can find someone and establish a relationship with someone that you trust to kind of guide you as you grow the better, because you don't want to be in a position where you're like, now I have to move all of my stuff over to this system. Or just having things set up right as early as possible. I personally wouldn't have been like, so sorry, client, I'm not going to work with you until about three months later when I feel confident that I have all of my business stuff set up. But I would be like, if I'm legit going to commit to making this more than just me doing side work, you know, that I'm going to commit to like making this a legit business that's going to be the thing that supports me and grows and supports my family. Like yeah, definitely get the right expertise and help in your corner as early as possible so that you don't have those things hold you back that you don't even know are holding you back because you're worried you're doing something wrong, Oh, such good stuff.

Nacondra Moran: And then I will also say just to understand, like in the beginning, it's more simple than you think. The example that you just gave about you doing a website, you get the money, you're a sole proprietor. It's just as easy as that. So, just also realizing that there's not this huge mountain in front of you to jump into entrepreneurship. There may be, of course, some things that you do not know, but it's not that complex that should deter you from doing it. You becoming a sole proprietor, there's no legal forms or anything that you have to file in order to be one. It's simply you just making a decision that you now want to be self-employed. You now want to freelance and then you deciding to do it. And then really it's just a matter of you keeping track of your income and the expenses to be able to report it.

Shannon Mattern: Ah, yes. Good. I mean, it's not the most glamorous part of running a business. But if you keep up on it, you know, monthly, and you're not kind of letting things go until you have 12 months of things to figure out to file your taxes, it is way less daunting. I can say that. In the beginning, I'm like, Oh, I'll deal with adding up all that stuff later. And then I did it one time and then I was like, I'm keeping up on this for the rest of the time, because I don't want to go through all of that again. So I have just a few more questions for you. I want to kind of go back to you starting your business and growing your business. What were some of the early challenges that you had to overcome in growing your business? We talked about some of the mind trash stuff and that type of thing, but what were some of the more memorable challenges that you overcame to get where you are now?

Nacondra Moran: That's a really good question. I think definitely one of the challenges that I had to overcome was the idea that I didn't want to be the typical accountant. I had a certain vision for my business that I wanted that was not necessarily what was currently existing or not many of us. So the challenge was how to create something that I didn't really have a lot of people in front of me modeling. So, I think because of that, I had more fear about that. But an example of like my systems. Like how to make this easy for my clients, how to make it intuitive so that it's not overwhelming because when you're collecting information for taxes, that can kind of be overwhelming. So how to simplify that, how to make it more intuitive, how to make it so that it's easy for them to be able to work with me, to work with my systems, to communicate with me. So over time, I think some challenges that I've had is along with the growth of clients, you also have to deal with the growth of your systems in dealing with your clients as well. So I would say that's probably the biggest challenge that I've had is the learning curve of the systems and integrating that so that it's easy for me to work with my clients year to year.

Shannon Mattern: I can so second that just as far as you know, thinking about when I was doing one-on-one web design before I transitioned to mentoring web designers, is figuring out how to manage one-on-one client relationships, when you need stuff from them in order to do the job that they hired you to do. And how do you help them understand what you need from them and how do you get it by a certain deadline? How do you get it really easily so you're not digging through your inbox and wasting more time just trying to pull everything together than it actually probably takes you to do their taxes. And the part that we think is the hard part is, this is what I tell my web designers, I'm like building the website is the easiest part of being a web designer. It's like managing the whole client experience up until the point that you can start the website that's the challenge. So I could not agree with you more.

Nacondra Moran: That is so true. The tax preparation is not the hard part, but it's everything that has to be done outside of that to make that happen.

Shannon Mattern: Yes. It's and then you have to figure it out all along the way. Well, I thought that would work, but that blew up in my face. Or I'm trying to teach my client like this whole new system. This was a problem with me as a web designer, I'd be like, Oh, there's this new tool that came out that's supposed to help getting content from your clients easier., But my clients aren't techie at all. They don't want to learn a new tool to give me their stuff. Like they just want to email it to me. And so like even trying to like get them to adapt to my systems was like, okay, well that didn't work. So just really trial and erroring to figure out what is going to be the thing that is scalable for us as service providers, because we don't want to max out on our time and our revenue. We want to be able to, you know, grow beyond just the capacity of like what time we have in a day. And systems are a huge, huge part of that. So I'm so glad that you brought that up. Do you feel like, at this point, your systems are like serving you really well?

Nacondra Moran: I do. I feel like my systems have been serving me. I have had that, you know, googly eye for that new shiny thing that's supposed to help just maximize my time. But I've learned over time that if it's not broke, don't fix it. Yeah, you can make changes if you feel that it's necessary. But my whole goal is to make things very simple and intuitive for my client. The process that I want it to be is just very seamless and I don't want them to have to jump through hoops to be able to get things to me and to be able to communicate with me. So I feel like through trial and error, but also with the mindset of also trying to keep things simple, I have really been okay with the systems that I've been using. But you're right, with us as service providers, for my industry, you are trading time for compensation and being able to scale that type of industry can be challenging to some. So the systems and the processes really make it very easy on cutting down that time that you can get everything done without manually doing it.

Nacondra Moran: So systems have been so helpful for, for my business for sure.

Shannon Mattern: I love it. So one other question that I ask everybody that comes on the show is what advice would you give to someone who is early in their business journey, who is just kind of feeling stuck and struggling to move forward?

Nacondra Moran: I would tell them to keep going. I will also tell them to really think about what's holding them back. And what is that?, Is it something outside of their entrepreneurship? Is it something that's going on personally and how can they grow from that and be able to, you know, rise to their occasion of being an entrepreneur. So I would definitely give them encouraging words and tell them to keep going and to stay positive, even though it's very hard to sometimes do that. But to try to stay positive and know that over time you can accomplish anything with great thought and focus.

Shannon Mattern: Oh, I love that. Because you are going to hit roadblocks and you are going to feel stuck. And the only way that you're going to fail is if you stop. So you have to keep going. And then what belief about yourself did you have to change to get where you are today?

Nacondra Moran: I had to definitely change the thought that I wasn't good enough or that I wasn't good enough to run this type of business or to grow this type of business. That was probably the hardest thing for me. I think even as you grow it, you hit certain milestones. Like the first milestone is that you grew the business or that you put yourself out there and you did it. So that's like a huge milestone because that's really the biggest one, that takes the most energy to really say, okay, I'm an accountant, I'm a web designer, right. So that was the first one. And then I think after you start growing the business, and I think the next wall that you hit is like, okay, who am I to grow this big business or for me to be the person that creates more wealth or to do this. I feel like that has been one of the biggest things that I've had to work on for myself, just being very honest.

Nacondra Moran: And that has been challenging, but I will say, people who are entrepreneurs and things like that, it is really a mindset growth journey, because it will reveal so much to you as you're growing the business. And within working on yourself, you realize that everything trickles onto each other. Like things that you work on for yourself makes you a better wife. It can make you a better business owner. It can make you a better mother. And me personally, working on myself, even something as small as well, not small, but something like me not feeling that I was good enough to run and grow this big business, what I realized is me working on that mindset piece with myself was also showing me that I was worthy, not only for myself as a business owner, but worthy for myself in every other avenue as well, no matter what else you could struggling in.

Shannon Mattern: I love that. And that is the perfect place to wrap up this interview. Thank you so much for sharing everything that you shared with us about your journey, about just where we need to kind of be focusing and paying attention with our numbers and our books at the beginning of our journey. Where can everyone go to learn more about you, learn more about their taxes and accounting, just get a relationship started so that they know that they have someone in their corner supporting them as they grow their wealth.

Nacondra Moran: Of course. And thank you for having me. You can find me at exceptionaltaxservices.com. You can find me on Facebook at Exceptional Tax Services, LLC. And then you can find me on Instagram. It's just Nacondra Moran.

Shannon Mattern: All right. So I will link up all of that stuff in the show notes. Again, thank you so much for being here. Everybody go to shannonmattern.com/333 to get your hands on everything and go connect with Nacondra. You are going to want to know her. So thank you again for being here.

Nacondra Moran: Thank you for having me.

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